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Rapid Reaction: Northwestern Women’s Basketball starts slow, still cruises to season-opening win over Hampton

It wasn’t always pretty, but Northwestern is 1-0.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Maryland v Northwestern Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern was slapped in the face to open its season, but woke up and turned an early scare into a rout.

Nia Coffey led the way with 14 points and 15 rebounds and three other players scored in double figures as the Wildcats (1-0) coasted to a 67-48 win over Hampton (0-1).

Lydia Rohde scored a career-high 12 points, Ashley Deary had 12 of her own and Lauren Douglas chipped in with 10 in her first game since March 2015. Christen Inman scored 8 of her 9 points in the second quarter to help the Wildcats rally from an early deficit.

The first quarter was ugly, simply put. Northwestern was lifeless and sloppy on both ends and the scoreline reflected that. After ten minutes of play, the Wildcats trailed Hampton 18-10.

Then Inman got going.

The senior scored eight of Northwestern’s 17 second-quarter points, leading the offense with a barrage of pull-up midrange jumpers and layups in transition. Douglas, back for a fifth season after missing all of last year due to injury, scored her first points in 18 months late in the half.

Northwestern also tightened up defensively, holding Hampton to just 4 points in the second quarter. Despite their truly awful start, the Wildcats led 27-22 at halftime.

Things didn’t turn around for Hampton in the second half. Northwestern opened the third quarter on a 12-2 run, led by a pair of Rohde three-pointers, to open a sizable lead that it wouldn’t relinquish.

Hampton finally made a couple shots late in the third quarter, but not nearly enough to mount any sort of comeback. After three periods, the Wildcats led comfortably by a score of 44-31.

The Pirates tried to fight their way back in the fourth quarter, but had no answer for Northwestern’s bigs. Coffey and Hamilton dominated on the interior, scoring the Wildcats’ first 8 points of the period and blocking several shots on the other end.

Ultimately, the more talented team took care of business after a rusty start. After scoring 18 points in the first quarter, Hampton managed just 30 in the remaining three periods.

Northwestern’s next game is against Oral Roberts at Welsh-Ryan Arena at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Takeaways

  • Hamilton appears to have a decent hold on the starting center job at the moment. The junior transfer from Alabama played 27 minutes, scoring just 6 points but chipping in 7 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals. Sophomore Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah and freshman Abbie Wolf played just 1 and 3 minutes, respectively.
  • Is Lydia Rohde the outside shooter Northwestern needs? The junior guard played a whopping 37 of 40 minutes and made 4 shots from beyond the arc. Her outside jumpshot looks a lot prettier than anyone else who played on Friday.
  • That said, Northwestern still struggles mightily from deep as a team. Players not named Rohde were just 1-for-11 on three-point attempts.